First Hundred Days

Andreas Blum

During my MBA at INSEAD, one of my favourite courses was “Your First 100 Days”, a pretty realistic simulation of managing a growing company during, well, your first 100 days in a new leadership role.

The course did not leave me disappointed.

If I recall correctly, for a period of 100 days I was the CEO of an imaginary "Derby Bicycles company" and together with my strong team we tackled a variety of challenges. What stayed in memory was planning the ever-dwindling liquidity, negotiating with banks, giving an interview to a TV team and reacting to production emergencies in the middle of the night.

In summary, a highly engaging and interactive simulation, delivered by the very committed professors and also successful entrepreneurs Adrian Johnson and Paul Kewene-Hite.

Just a few days ago, I completed my first 100 days in leading the Digital & AI Consulting Practice of Unit8 SA, a fast-growing Swiss AI and data analytics company - a good time to pause and reflect.

Directly after INSEAD I still worked in strategy consulting for some time and then joined the strategy department of a large Swiss bank in Zurich, leading projects in the areas of strategy, digital transformation and analytics.

However, I always felt this entrepreneurial itch inside me and was looking to join a much smaller, fast-moving tech company with more opportunities for direct impact.

This is how I got in touch with Dr. Marcin Pietrzyk, also a fellow INSEAD alumnus and co-founder and CEO of Unit8.

Unit8 solves complex data science-related problems for different industries. I was immediately impressed by the quality of their people, their ability to sustain such a great culture in a rapid growth environment and their already impressive client base. Therefore I accepted their offer to join them and lead their Digital & AI Consulting Practice, which focuses on more conceptual consulting offerings in the AI & Analytics domain, e.g. AI use case identification, the set-up of AI governance structures or AI centres of excellence.

My MBA at INSEAD has certainly helped me in understanding some of the key concepts of what is important when being part of a scale-up company.